Water without plastic — a choice we can make

Photo by tanvi sharma on Unsplash

Plastic bottles are insidiously convenient. They’re easy to pack, relatively lightweight and inexpensive.

Every year, over 481 billion plastic bottles are purchased across the globe. In the US., we buy one million of them every day. Yet 91 percent of the world’s water bottles don’t get recycled, ending up in landfills, oceans or waterways.

The effects of this scourge are grim. Scientists recently reported finding microplastics in human blood and lung tissue. And marine and wildlife die from ingesting plastic, mistaking it for food.

69 billion single-use plastic water bottles are consumed annually in the US, But there’s an innovative alternative that’s convenient, lightweight and recyclable. To find out more click here.

An Innovative Solution to Plastic Bag Recycling

Across the globe, we use 5 trillion plastic bags per year. According to the EPA, the U.S. uses 730,000 tons of plastic bags, sacks and wraps annually – and less than one percent of these get recycled. Few US recycling centers or curbside recyclers accept them because bags gum up and contaminate their sorting machines. An environmental scourge, few plastic bags make it to landfills. Most get blown by the wind or end up in our oceans, smothering and killing marine life, birds and other wildlife.

Boston-based entrepreneur David New believes he has the solution.

News’s sleek-looking, innovative Obaggo is the world’s first and only in-home plastic bag and packaging film recycling appliance. It compresses up to 25 plastic bags and/or packaging film at a time, creating disks that are the perfect shape and size for recycling.

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National Park Service rescinds ban on plastic water bottles – a bad and dangerous policy for wildlife

Plastic pollution – such as shown here in the Grand Canyon prior to the plastic water ban – will likely now become a common scene again.

In what is clearly bowing to pressure from both our infamous, uh, illustrious national leader and lobbying (as with beaucoup dollars thrown at them or the federal agency that oversees it) by plastic bottle manufacturers, the National Park Service has announced it’s lifting the 6-year ban on the sale of plastic water bottles within national parks.

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Preliminary results of our oceans shows alarming amount of plastic debris

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There’s a race taking place and it doesn’t result in ribbons or plaques. It’s the “Race for Water Odyssey”. Sponsored by the Race for Water Foundation, this 300 day voyage, which will travel over 40,000 nautical miles, will create the first global assessment of plastic pollution in the ocean by visiting island beaches situated in the 5 “gyres” (trash vortexes)..

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5 Gyres works to help stop plastic pollution of microbeads

plastic microbeads

The issue of plastic in our oceans is huge – and growing! Even with encouraging news regarding Dutch engineering student Boyan Slat’s plan to clean up half the Pacific Garbage Patch in just 10 years, the issue of microbeads remains.

Plastic microbeads are in beauty products like toothpaste and facial scrubs in humongous amounts. One tube of exfoliating scrub can contain over 350,000 plastic microbeads! It’s estimated that 471 million microbeads are released into the San Francisco Bay every day.

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The environmental hazards of microbeads

Plastic microbeads  – tiny, toxic, plastic beads – are in many of our personal care products, like face scrub and toothpaste. They’re so tiny that they are washing down the drains and into our precious waterways.

graphic courtesy of 5 Gyres Institute

graphic courtesy of 5 Gyres Institute

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New technology effective at filtering ocean plastics without harming sea life

Plastic recovered from our ocean's gyres

Plastic recovered from our ocean’s gyres

The plastic pollution in our oceans is a killing our marine life. Sea birds, seals and other marine animals and mammals are turning up dead with lots of plastic in their stomachs that they mistook for food. The problem is that so much of this plastic is small fragments, making it extremely difficult to simply scoop up and recover.

Of the more than 200 billion pounds of plastic the world produces each year, about 10 percent ends up in the ocean Plastic constitutes 90 percent of all trash floating in the world’s oceans, with estimates that every square mile of the ocean contains 46,000 pieces of floating plastic. In some areas, the amount of plastic outweighs the amount of plankton by a ratio of six to one.

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SC Johnson and bloggers encourage greener lifestyle – but are they missing the point?

SC Johnson logoIt’s commendable when a giant manufacturer like S.C. Johnson really puts its focus on green living. And even better when it strives to get the message out to as wide an audience as possible via the internet. But looking beyond the hype, one has to wonder if perhaps they’re missing the point somehow.

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California’s plan to create green jobs – increase recycling

California's goal to achieve a 75 percent recycling rate would create thousands of green jobs, photo courtesy of Recology

California’s goal to achieve a 75 percent recycling rate would create thousands of green jobs, photo courtesy of Recology

California has earned its reputation for leading the way in green innovation and legislation. In 2011, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 341, which  required the mandatory commercial recycling in California beginning July 1, 2012. This new law modified the California Integrated Waste Management Act, establishing a policy goal that “75 percent of solid waste generated be source reduced, recycled, or composted by the year 2020.”

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A growing national trend turns plastic bags into bedding for the homeless

An eighth grader shows how easy it is to turn plastic bags into cushy bed mats for the homeless

An eighth grader shows how easy it is to turn plastic bags into cushy bed mats for the homeless; photo by Debra Atlas

As cities around the country are banning or placing a tax on plastic bags, some people are turning lemons into lemonade. A growing number of church groups and students are turning single use plastic bags into bed mats for the homeless. Continue reading